Lavender has been known for centuries for its intoxicating perfume and its ability to create a wonderful state of well-being.  It is thought to calm the anxious and to relieve insomnia and headaches.  The Greeks and Romans used the flowers to perfume bathing water.

Lavender plants have an extensive root system which penetrate deep into the soil to reach the moisture available there.  It is a drought tolerant plant that  prefers stony limestone soil. All parts of the plant are perfectly suited to sunny, dry conditions.

The dominant species are:  True lavender or fine lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) also known as the female lavender.
Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia), also known as aspic or male lavender.
Lavandin, a hybrid obtained from cross pollination of true lavender and spike lavender.  Of the Lavandins, Lavandin Super and Lavandin Grosso are grown mostly in Provence, France with Lavandin Grosso accounting for 80% of all lavandin cultivation there.

At Stoney Hollow we researched the location of our lavender farm and the "terroir".  In France  the "terroir" of the land is of utmost importance for the quality of the harvest.  It is defined by:  suitable soil, amount of sunshine and rainfall, altitude and proximity to a body of water.  As well, location of the lavender beds on the land  and the time of day that lavender is harvested has been shown to affect the quality and quantity of essential oils within the lavender buds.

At our gardens, we successfully grow two varieties of Lavandins (Provence and Grosso) and two varieties of Lavandula Angustifolias (Hidcote and Royal Velvet).  Each variety has its own unique fragrance and characteristics.

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The picture above was taken during the 2005 Lavender Harvest at Stoney Hollow's Garden.
The basket is full of freshly-harvested Lavandin Intermedia Grosso.